Title

Parents' perspective on school strategies for parental involvement: An exploratory case study in a community based school in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award

8-1-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

This thesis reports a research study which was conducted as a master thesis project. The study explored parents' perspectives about strategies school can use to meaningfully involve them. Twenty parents, through purposive sampling, were selected from a community based secondary school located in Karachi. A qualitative research design was used to explore the topic which used focused group discussion, interviews with individual parents and document analysis, as tools for data collection. The study has generated some key findings. The first finding indicates that parents, belonging to diverse cultural backgrounds, tend to think of school-home relationship from cultural perspective. They demand that the school needs to value and reciprocate the cultural heritage and social values of the children and parents that they bring with them to the school. The parents' voice concern over the school not being sensitive to cultural groups presented in the school. The parents believe that diverse cultures present in the school contribute to creation of a learning enriched environment in the school. The school thus needs to capitalize on the experiences and values different cultural groups bring to the school. The second key finding reflects that meaningful and enhanced involvement of parents in the school requires the school tailoring strategies that take into account demographic variables such as gender and parents' social and cultural capitals. The third main finding explains that the parents' interest in getting involved in school is influenced by their desire for having provision of opportunities for quality education contributed by teaching and learning, positive school environment, curriculum, and assessment practices. The forth finding of the study suggests that parents are aware of some of the ways and means through which the school can meaningfully communicate with homes. These include a range of strategies including telephone calls, newsletters, circulars, and invitation letters, etc. But these ways and means of communication need to be used considering the situations in which individual parents live. The fifth finding reports that the opportunities for face-to-face interaction with teachers encourage parental involvement because it provokes parents to freely share information with teachers. Such face-to-face meetings require teachers to display, honest, caring, and respectful attitude towards parents. Parents' experiences strongly suggest that that a welcoming ethos in school and teachers' positive attitude towards parents encourages them to take interest in the work of school. These important findings of the study have implications for schools, teachers, children and parents. The school needs to have a coherent and a well defined policy to guide it in its efforts to devise strategies for parental involvement. The School Board needs to restructure in order to ensure maximum representation of parents and work towards a greater and meaningful parental involvement. The school's programmes and events need to focus on enhanced parental involvement rather than information sharing. The school needs to work on physical structure to encourage parents. Provision of proper meeting place, waiting area, negotiated meeting schedules between parents and teachers would encourage parents to come to school and interact with the school community with a reasonable degree of comfort. The study has potential implications for teachers to enhance their understanding of their own role in developing positive relationship with parents. The collaborative approach and understanding between teachers and parents will contribute to the students' academic and social development in the school. Further, this study triggers parents to understand their roles and responsibilities in their children education and for school development. It provides a positive perspective for parents to create conducive environment at school and home for children's learning and growth.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library

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